She wears gold hoops. She travels back in time (to punch Hitler in the face). She’s Marvel’s latest super heroine, America Chavez—and she also happens to be a queer Latina.
Created in 2011, America Chavez was once a character in Marvel’s Young Avengers series. Now she’s become the star of her very own comic series; the ultimate promotion in the Marvel universe. In America, we follow the 18-year-old student at the fictional (and well-named) Sotomayor University, as she fights aliens and protects her fellow classmates from injustice.
The series will be written by Gabby Rivera, a YA author who is also a queer Latina woman. In an interview with Fusion, Rivera explained that she plans on making America’s heritage a major part of the character’s journey. “Exploring America’s Latinx identity is going to be one of the most thoughtful elements,” she said. “She’s just ‘Latinx,’ and like, what does that mean? Beyond being a gender-neutral term for Latina/o, what does it mean to identify as such?” When she’s not writing comics, Rivera is also somewhat of a superhero herself, working at an nonprofit that helps provide protections for LGBT students at schools.
Marvel has been working on diversifying its cast of characters for quite some time now. They’ve added a female Thor, a new Black Panther (written by Ta-Nehisi Coates), a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and a black Iron Woman. But the promotion of a superheroine like America Chavez in this particular moment in our history—when women, LGBT, and Hispanic communities are among those feeling most threatened by our current administration—makes it close to a perfectly timed debut. Call it Marvel’s way of making America great again.